In Emmerhout, constructor BAM Woningbouw and housing association Lefier built a Net Zero Energy test house with a flat roof. This is the first of a total of 60 residences that will be converted to Net Zero Energy.
The vacant terraced house from the 1960s is a typical specimen of a draughty, cold house. Residents of similar houses in the area complain about their cold feet and the mould caused by damp. In terms of energy, the houses are as leaky as a sieve and in need of a proper facelift. As part of Stroomversnelling (‘currency accelerator’), Lefier has chosen a particularly thorough and future-proof renovation method: Net Zero Energy.

The first test house in Emmerhout

As part of Stroomversnelling, constructor BAM Woningbouw has already built various Net Zero Energy test houses in Soesterberg and Heerhugowaard. Thanks to this, BAM is currently building with the necessary expertise. The concept is not new for Lefier either, since they built the first Net Zero Energy apartment together with constructor Dura Vermeer in Groningen.
All this gained expertise is used in Emmen. The residence in Emmerhout was converted in ten working days. Most of the measures that have been applied are similar to those used in Heerhugowaard, with the exception of the 31 solar panels that were placed in Emmen, and the prefab façade that was coated with glass because of the longer lifespan of the material.

Challenges in Emmen

In Emmen, BAM had to deal with flat-roofed houses for the first time. This in itself is not so very complicated, as solar panels were easy to place on the roof. The challenges in this area lie in the kind of neighborhood. Emmerhout is a typical post-war reconstruction area. In terms of architecture, everything has to fit in with the ‘old’ homes. For instance, the houses have two protruding columns, and the living room lies slightly deeper than the upper floor. Simply placing a prefabricated outer wall to the façade would be more complicated here, yet not impossible.
Another difficult point is the foundation. At the time of the reconstruction, the minimum of what was necessary was done in terms of construction. The houses are not solid enough to bear just any new additional façade. Because of this, a new foundation was constructed at the front and the rear of the house. These kind of adjustments obviously cost extra money and time, but because Lefier has many such houses in its stock, it is worth the investment.

Distrust amongst residents

BAM and Lefier want to start renovating the rest of the neighborhood after the summer. However, they obviously need the residents’ consent. It was explained to the residents that they were going to pay an energy performance fee (Energieprestatievergoeding) instead of their current energy bill. In information sessions and personal home visits, BAM and Lefier have explained that this amount is an addition to the regular rent and, as such, has no effect on the housing allowance, but residents find this hard to believe. Emmerhout is a neighborhood with little financial capacity, and residents are afraid that they will ultimately pay more. It seems too good to be true. There is a lot of distrust against the government and semi-government amongst residents.
Because of this, BAM and Lefier have decided to organize a meeting with the tenants association and the Woonbond (tenants’ union). Residents probably have more confidence in a “real” independent party.
For additional reading on residents and resident satisfaction and distrust in general, please visit Energielinq.nl.

Status Q2 2015
The first house is being elaborately tested. It is planned to start with the other 35 properties in the block after the summer.


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